High Point halts Coastal’s season in double overtime

ccuwsoccer-hottieThe best Coastal Carolina women’s soccer season in a handful of years came to a disappointing end Friday night as the No. 2 seed Chanticleers fell to No 3 seed High Point 2-1 in double overtime of the Big South Conference tournament semifinals.

High Point’s Jacky Kessler converted a penalty kick with 2:32 left in the second overtime to give the Panthers (12-4-3) the victory. Coastal concluded a campaign in which they finished tied for second in the regular season and got its first Big South tourney win since 2008 with an 11-8-2 record.

Kessler gave High Point a 1-0 lead in the first half, but Rylie Johnson tied it for the Chants with a second-half goal off an assist by Amber Adams. With neither team threatening offensively and the clock ticking down in the second extra-time period, the game seemed destined for a penalty kick shootout.

However, HPU gained control of the ball in the Coastal defensive third and a Panther attacker made a run to collect a pass and was tackled by a Chanticleer defender just after getting into the box. The referee awarded the penalty and Kessler, High Point’s leading goal scorer, put the shot into the top of the net. It was the first loss for Coastal in a program-record six overtime games during the season.

After play was kept mostly in the midfield for the first 15 minutes of the match, High Point started to gain more possession and took advantage in the 34th minute when a Coastal foul led to a Panthers’ free kick from the top of the 18. Kessler curled the ball around the Chants’ wall and over the outstretched arms of keeper Becca Austin into the top left corner.

Coastal just missed on a couple of good opportunities late in the half, but came out strong in the second 45 minutes. Daniella Famili put a shot on net just over two minutes in and the Chants generated a pair of corner kicks. On the second one, Ellie Taylor hit it short to Amber Adams, who took a couple dribbles and crossed it in front to the six-yard box. Johnson timed her run well and headed the ball into the top left side for her second goal of the season and sixth of her career.

Photo by Joel Beachum

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